Workshop gives charities the skills for the future

Over 80 charities attended a unique free half-day digital workshop in Edinburgh yesterday (1 June 2016), to help them improve their digital skills. The workshop was hosted by the Bank of Scotland Foundation, in collaboration with Bank of Scotland and Google, to improve the digital presence of charities and the digital awareness of their employees.

The Foundation receives £2m from Lloyds Banking Group each year as part of the Group’s commitment to helping Britain prosper. The Foundation donates these funds to charities across Scotland through their Small, Medium and Large Grants Programmes, as well as its Matched Giving Programme for Lloyds Banking Group employees in Scotland. However, this is the first time that the Foundation has provided non-financial support to charities in Scotland.

In Scotland, one in three SMEs and charities lack the basic digital skills they need to succeed and prosper in today’s increasingly digital society, which is why this workshop proved so popular. The event provided charities with top tips from Google’s Digital Garage Experts for making the most of the web, as well as guidance from Reason Digital explaining how to use social media and free online tools. For those who were not able to attend or want to further develop their digital skills, Google's Digital Garage provides free training at digitalgarage.withgoogle.com.

Also on hand to help charities on the day were Bank of Scotland’s Digital Champions; colleagues who have pledged to improve the digital skills and financial capability of at least two individuals, organisations and / or charities each year. Over 1,500 colleagues across Bank of Scotland are Digital Champions and they are one way that Bank of Scotland is committed to helping Scotland prosper.

Philip Grant, Chair of the Scottish Executive Committee, Lloyds Banking Group and Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees said, “We are thrilled to have been able to provide local charities with this free digital workshop, in collaboration with Bank of Scotland and Google. Basic digital skills can make a big difference when looking and applying for funding. We hope the event has helped these charities gain confidence in using the internet and that their new skills helps secure vital funding over the coming years.”

Every charity attending the workshop was able to register for free ongoing support from a local Bank of Scotland Digital Champion in order to help them continue developing their digital skills.

Annette Barnes, Managing Director, Bank of Scotland (Retail) said, “The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for our Digital Champions to fulfil their pledge to help improve the digital skills of at least two individuals or organisations a year. We are really looking forward to spending more time with those charities who have requested ongoing support. By working together, we can make a real difference in the communities that we serve.”

Bield, who develop housing and care services to enable Scotland's older people to live the life they want, was one of those charities attending.  Kevin Rowe, Bield’s Fundraiser added, “For me, today’s digital workshop was really useful to get more information on social media and how it can be used effectively to raise awareness of our charity. I think it’s really good that the Bank of Scotland Foundation is looking at other ways, other than grants, that they can help charities. It’s not just about giving out money, it’s actually about trying to grow the charity, to help them help themselves and share the skills that are within the community they already have.”

Eileen Naughton, Google’s Managing Director for UK & Ireland said, “It can be easy to think that technology is just for start-ups, but we know it can bring real growth to all organisations, be they small charities or global businesses. At a time when there is pressure for the UK to boost productivity to contribute to real wage increases, we believe Google can be a real growth engine that helps deliver these gains.”